I have been going to a breastfeeding support group for a couple weeks and each time I go, the room is full of sweet new babies, all trying to get the hang of nursing. It is also full of chairs, full of diaper bags, and REALLY full of this little contraption called an infant car seat- one for each baby. Except awkwardly, I am the only one who comes in with my baby in my arms and no car seat is in sight.
I had a green & burgundy plaid infant seat with a grey handle for Zoelie. The handle was “Z” shaped, supposedly to help make carrying that sucker across a parking lot more “comfortable”. Ha, who were they kidding, carrying one of those monstrosities is everything except comfortable, I don’t care what letter the handle imitates. They are heavy, bulky, and totally awkward to carry; meanwhile on your other arm you have your thousand-pound diaper bag slamming into your side as you hobble across a parking lot. By the time my oldest needed to move into a convertible car seat, I had built up my arm muscles to look like something that resembled a body builder… but only one arm. So attractive.
But that is what you do! When you get pregnant, you march on over to the big box baby store and pick out the cutest and hopefully as-safe-as-possible infant car seat for your future bambina. Or maybe even an infant car seat and stroller combination, called a “travel system”. So then, let’s say your itty bitty baby grows (something babies tend to do) and suddenly, less than a year after purchasing your infant seat, you are car seat shopping… again. This time you will hand over some serious dough in exchange for a convertible seat that most likely safely fit your baby at birth. For me, this created a light bulb moment even though it was the third time around. Why not ONLY get a convertible seat? While I realize it may not be the choice everyone wants to make, we decided to forgo the infant carrier with our third.
I know that committing to carry a baby in your arms everywhere you go looks a little crazy when you have a brood of three. I thought having Penny in an infant seat would maybe add a slight air of convenience to our errand running, but honestly, it isn’t so bad. I love how we are doing it actually. When we go anywhere, I usually have a few carriers in my car. My favorites for errand running right now are my baby k’tan (review coming soon!!) and my boba3g. They are super fast, simple and easy! I open the sliding door to my mom mobile, Z climbs in the back and starts getting buckled up, A climbs in and waits for mommy. I put the baby in her seat – her awesome Chicco NextFit – and buckle her properly, double check Z’s buckling job, and then A gets buckled in too. When we get out to go anywhere, I open the door, I put on the carrier and put baby in, Z out, then get A out. I have free hands for holding onto both Z and A in parking lots, and we are able to do everything practically just how we did it before Penny was born.
When you have a baby in an infant carrier, from the house to the car to the store to the restaurant and back, the amount of time you spend holding them is very small – if it even happened at all more than to feed or change a diaper. It is so easy to just carry baby everywhere in a car seat and never actually hold them. It is easy to treat the infant seat more like a crib for sleeping or for a place to hang out in, rather than for the intended purpose of safety in the car. You can get the same convenience carrying your baby against your body in a sling or a wrap or a carrier- with many added benefits. Baby can nurse right there discreetly, baby can sleep undisturbed. Baby can snuggle and feel safe. Baby’s breathing can sync to yours. Baby is safe from the hands of seemingly magnetized strangers, germy preschoolers that belong to other people, and so much more.
Although we still have Allister’s infant seat as a backup if for some reason we needed it, it is up high on a storage shelf, collecting dust. I love every moment I get to snuggle Penelope, and I have so many more opportunities to do so now that we have committed to using only a convertible car seat. I have so many more opportunities to keep holding the hands of my older daughters, something I wasn’t ready to stop doing with my 5 year old. You would never think that walking away from one simple and standard piece of baby gear would be such a gift, but it is.
What about you? Did you use an infant seat once you discovered baby wearing? Why or why not! I would love to hear your thoughts!